7th October 2003

More than 88,500 children in England and Wales are currently without one of their parents because of imprisonment, Lucy Gampell, Director of Action for Prisoners’ Families, told senior lawyers on October 30th.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC lent her support to the charity at a special event at the British Council, London . Lord Justice Sedley (a senior Court of Appeal Judge) joined her in calling on senior lawyers and parliamentarians to add their support to the charity (of which she is Patron) in its campaign for the just treatment for the children and families of prisoners.

Baroness Kennedy said, “I am delighted to be able to help the charity get its message across to lawyers and others in a position to influence policy and help these children and families. Action for Prisoners’ Families is addressing a challenging, but essential cause. Each night over 88,500 children in England and Wales are without one of their parents because of imprisonment. For many children of women prisoners, it is the first time they have experienced significant separation from their mother. These children have committed no crime but, because of the actions of a parent, they are discriminated against and face the dreadful consequences and pain that ensue from the separation. We in the legal profession must do more to safeguard the rights of these children.”

At the reception, APF launched its new campaign strategy which focuses on three key goals: Improving support for prisoners’ families as soon as someone is sent to prison; advancing the rights of children and families of prisoners to privacy, freedom from discrimination and family life, as defined by the Children’s Act and Human Rights Act; improving prison visits, family contact and the involvement of families in resettlement work. For more information : www.prisonersfamilies.org.uk

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Author: rmchristen